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Over 1,000 Afghan troops desert posts, escape to Tajikistan

AT News

KABUL: More than 1,000 Afghan soldiers have deserted their posts in the northeastern province of Badakhshan, entering the neighboring Tajikistan, Tajik officials said, as battle with the Taliban militants is unprecedentedly intensifying in the mountainous province which is bordering Tajikistan, China and Pakistan.

Taliban fighters have gained more ground in Badakhshan in the past couple of days, taking control of more than two-thirds of 27 districts.

This is the third time that Afghan troops escape to Tajikistan. According to Tajik officials, 1,037 soldiers entered their soil on Monday.

Taliban reached government outposts at the entrance of Faizabad city the provincial capital, but a defense ministry spokesman said they were pushed back. Fawad Aman added that the bodies of Chechen, Uzbek and Pakistani nationals were left at the battlefield.

Tajikistan border guards said Monday that Taliban captured the districts of Khawahan, Shiki, Mahimi, Sheghnan and Eshkashem in Badakhshan.

Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani had a phone conversation with his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon, discussing thee “tactical retreatment” of Afghan forces from districts.

Rahmon called the situation in Afghanistan “a matter of concern”, but expressed support of the peace process.

Afghanistan shares more than 1,400 kilometers border with Tajikistan.

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